Nike Book 1 is For 90's Basketball Shoe Aesthetics

Nike Book 1 toebox

The Nike Book 1 marks Devin Booker's eagerly awaited debut signature shoe with Nike. Sneaker enthusiasts have been eagerly anticipating this release since the announcement of the Devin Booker signature line.

Booker's fondness for Kobe Bryant's shoes, particularly the Kobe 5, adds to the anticipation. It suggests that his inaugural signature model may resemble the iconic Kobe silhouette—a favorite among many.

The Nike Book 1 is both highly anticipated and polarizing, largely due to its retro design and construction—an intentional choice reflecting Devin Booker's affinity for old-school aesthetics. The shoe's design harks back to an era reminiscent of 1985 rather than contemporary styles, aligning with Booker's classic sensibilities.

Related: Nike Book 1 PE Salute to 1980s 'Metallic Purple' Air Jordan 1

The crucial question remains: How do they fare on the court? Do they emulate the Kobe 5 or feel like a relic from the 80s? Let's delve into the performance aspect and find out.

Outsole and Traction

Nike Book 1 outsole

The traction on the Book 1 is straightforward yet exceptional. Featuring a full-length, robust herringbone pattern, it's one of the most reliable setups available, delivering excellent grip.

The durable rubber outsole ensures strong traction in all directions, making it suitable for various movements. Despite the translucent outsole, its performance remains uncompromised.

The Book 1 will be available in colorways featuring both solid rubber and translucent rubber outsoles. The translucent rubber utilized on the shoe performs excellently on all surfaces, including outdoor courts. Its durability and thickness ensure reliable traction outdoors, adding significant value to the shoe. While not every aspect of the shoe may excel outdoors, the traction certainly does.

Foam and Cushion

Nike Book 1 heel

While the cushion setup of the Book 1 appears promising, its execution falls short of expectations due to design constraints. The midsole comprises a full-length Cushlon slab housing a Zoom Air unit in the heel. However, the retro construction of the shoe, with the foot positioned at the top of the midsole rather than within it, compromises stability significantly.

Related: 'Neon/Grey/Black' Nike Book 1 Inspired by Air Max 95

To enhance midsole stability, it's nearly encased within a rubber cupsole, minimizing the expected compression and plushness of a full Cushlon slab. While not inherently flawed, this setup leans heavily towards reactivity and stability rather than a soft, elastic ride on the court.

Placing the Zoom Air unit in the forefoot instead of the heel might have been more advantageous, as it would cater to the primary impact area for most basketball players.

Given the Book 1's neutral cushioning, it's advisable to stick to indoor courts and avoid outdoor surfaces for prolonged use to maintain its performance.

Constructions and Materials

Nike Book 1 upper

The standout feature of the shoe is undoubtedly its materials. Fans of 90s and 00s style footwear will appreciate the Book 1's blend of premium materials with textile elements. Leather or Nubuck covers the forefoot, heel, and swoosh, all of which boast high quality. Meanwhile, the midfoot incorporates a canvas-style textile, enhancing breathability and reducing weight.

This configuration requires a bit more break-in time compared to modern textile-based shoes, but once it molds to your foot, the comfort is exceptional. Moreover, its performance capabilities are impressive. The Book 1 excels in containment and lockdown, thanks to the robust upper materials.

The combination of materials also enhances the perceived value of the shoe. While it might just be a psychological effect, having a shoe crafted with such quality materials gives the impression of getting more value for your money.

Stability and Support

Support is a notable strength of the Book 1. Its wide outsole offers ample contact area with the court, coupled with a well-contained cushioning system that provides a stable base for on-court movements. Leather overlays in the upper enhance containment, ensuring a secure fit. Similar to the traction, it's straightforward and effective, fulfilling its purpose without unnecessary embellishments.

Related: Devin Booker First Cooperation with Nike Book 1

The shoe features a TPU midfoot shank plate embedded within the midsole, offering considerable torsional rigidity. Additionally, a robust heel counter ensures secure heel lockdown during play.

Size and Fit

Nike Book 1 side overlays

The fit can be a bit challenging. While the shoe is true to size, it offers a snug, almost suffocating fit initially. The upper materials require some breaking in, after which the fit becomes more accommodating. If you prefer a looser fit, going up half a size may be a good option.

Summary and Conclusion

For those who appreciate 90’s basketball shoe aesthetics, the Nike Book 1 is a clear winner. It excels in simplicity, boasts high-quality materials, and delivers straightforward on-court performance. The shoe challenges the notion that lightweight textiles are superior, showing that they're often used for cost-cutting rather than enhancing performance.

In essence, the Book 1 isn't a high-tech, lightweight performance model loaded with advanced features. If that's what you seek, this shoe isn't for you. However, it excels in appearance and on-court performance, providing a no-nonsense experience.

  • Product: Nike Book 1
  • Price: $140
  • Styles & Colors:
    • FJ4249-400: Ashen Slate/Light Carbon/Football Grey/Multi-Color
  • Usage:
    • basketball shoes
Nike Book 1 midsole